Maslow’s hierarchy and the festive spirit!

As we approach the end of any year we all tend to look back, and take stock of where we are, and perhaps what we have achieved. It has been the first experience of a ‘really tough year’ for a lot of people in the north-west hemisphere, and sadly 2012 is not looking much rosier. I say north-west because to many millions of other people in parts of South America, Africa, rural India and China, our worst recession for 100 years is nothing of course. In fact, so much so that I thought of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (below). How many of us have recently dropped back from the top two levels, to focus more on basic needs? Whether you are reading this as a business person, an advisor, a facilities manager, or some other role, there is something in this model for all to ponder.

At this time of year, I sincerely wish you all the very best, and hope that whatever part of the world you are living in, you are at least at the top of Maslow’s ‘social needs’ level as above. The higher the better, of course!

But, do keep your eyes and ears open, and extend your festive spirit to others who may have dropped back a level or two this year…..

If you are a Facilities Director/Manager, take a moment to think about the many people working from the buildings that you manage. You and your teams may be in a better position to see? Whilst the finance department is working to try to keep you in the black, and the front-line business units are schmoozing their clients to oil the wheels of commerce, how many other people are worried right now. Or worse. Ask your teams – people out there on the floors – to keep their eyes & ears open.

Looking more positively, on a lighter note, we are responsible for the accommodation and facilities services for many thousands of people across our organisations. Whilst food, drink, heating (or cooling!) and safety may be taken as a given (but can always be improved upon), can we improve on people’s social and esteem needs through the environments that we deliver? The answer is yes – but we must always remember the human element of working environments! Bland, corporate, clear-desk ‘hot-desk’ areas have a place – but hopefully a small place – in the modern, colourful, vibrant workplace. You want people to feel good about working in your buildings. Don’t let health & safety stop you putting up your festive decorations 🙂

We wish you a happy and peaceful Christmas (or whatever you do at this time of year), and best wishes for the New Year. We have some exciting plans for our FM “GRID” programme, and will be back in early January to tell you more!

kind regards, Paul

Founder/Managing Director, Occupiers Journal Limited / Skype:

Hong Kong  –  London  –  San Francisco

5 responses to “Maslow’s hierarchy and the festive spirit!

  1. Appreciate the Christmas spirit. Just an update. Maslow had much of it correct but more recent research has painted a little different picture of the top needs of humans. It significantly impacts facility management and so I thought I would refer to the following link –

  2. Maslow is basic to all we do but consider the pyramid the other way around and that may be more valid today

  3. Thanks QED (sorry, whats your real name??) and Prof Derek Clements-Croome.
    The QED blog is interesting – I just picked Maslow’s hierarchy from memory as something that could back up my argument. I was not aware (as I’m not an academic researcher) of the latest thinking. And I empathise with the new directions taken, where procreation and family replace ‘self-actualization’ (for anyone with children – I have four – that will ring true in many ways).
    However, there was an essential point I was making.
    Many of us have suffered a range of mild to severe financial difficulties over the last 2-3 years since the banking crises and recession that followed.
    For example, I went from ‘safe’ corporate life (Jan 2009) to redundancy, on to self-employment, and have just about kept my head above water since.
    My goals are (as QED’s article suggests) providing a life for my family.
    But, there is also a ‘self-actualisation’ angle too.
    I don’t wish to go back to the corporate world, but to build an organisation (part ‘real’, part ‘virtual’) of my own, with like-minded people.
    Food (on the table) and shelter (my mortgage) are back in priority, whereas in the past they were taken as given – I didn’t think about them.
    Safety is not an issue – BUT it has been for many middle-class professionals across the Middle-east and North Africa recently for sure!
    Interesting discussion, thanks.


    Couldn’t agree more.
    Thanks Paul


  5. Paul, I forgot that comments automatically referenced my old wordpress link. Here is my LinkedIn account –

    You will see by my lack of entries in wordpress that the economy has hit me and I have taken a different job. I agree with you that Maslow helps us to reflect on what is really important in life. That is the best part of this time of year.

    I appreciate your personal reflection. It is a challenging time and for everyone this season may you be fortunate enough to have important things for which to be thankful.

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